Former DOH chief to appeal COVID-19 graft raps

Rhodina Villanueva - The Philippine Star
Former DOH chief to appeal COVID-19 graft raps
Francisco Duque III
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — Former health chief Francisco Duque III is set to file a motion for reconsideration of the order of the Office of the Ombudsman for the filing of graft charges against him over the alleged irregular transfer of over P41 billion for the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) for COVID-19.

“We will file a motion for reconsideration. It could be Monday or at the latest, Tuesday,” Duque said in a text message.

Duque served as chair of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) during the previous Duterte administration.

He said he and other officials used the “whole of government approach” to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aside from Duque, the ombudsman also ordered the filing of graft charges against former budget undersecretary Christopher Lao.

The former health chief cited Republic Act 9184, the Bayanihan Law 1 and 2, the General Appropriations Act and Executive Order 359 mandating the Procurement Service-Department of Budget and Management or PS-DBM, which Lao headed, to procure common-use supplies and equipment for national government agencies, as legal basis for the transfer of funds.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) vowed in a statement to abide by the legal processes governing the issue of PPE procurement. “The DOH respects all legal proceedings and will act accordingly.”

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